They're cute. They're tough. They're rich. They're mini-mob royalty. And Carmine, Frank and John Agnello -- the three sons of Victoria Gotti (search) and scrap-metal magnate Carmine Agnello, and the grandchildren of Dapper Don John Gotti (search) -- are about to take over prime-time TV.
Move over Osbournes. Fuggeddaboudit Meadow and A.J. These boys are the real deal.
With their souped-up BMWs, high-tech Nextel i860 cell phones, spiky-gelled hair, baby-blue contact lenses, head-to-toe designer clothes and diamond nameplate necklaces, this Gotti mob is ready to mug for the close-ups.
For the last couple of months, the Gotti family has opened its Old Westbury, L.I., mansion doors to camera crews to give America a candid look inside in "Growing Up Gotti," (search) a reality TV show that premieres Aug. 2 on A&E.
While the show is based on the premise that former Post columnist and current Star magazine gossip siren Victoria Gotti is "moving on" with her life after divorcing Agnello three years ago (she puts her house on the market and consults a matchmaker), it's the boys who will keep viewers glued to their tubes.
Carmine is the playboy. John is the looker. Frank is the teddy bear.
On a recent visit to the Gotti mansion, Carmine had just pulled up in the driveway, music blaring, and Frank came down the stairs to the mirrored living room to lounge on the plush patterned antique couches.
In the adjoining dining room were two wooden glass display cases -- one filled with Barbie dolls and another with crystal and china. John lingered upstairs, getting ready; when he came downstairs, he lit into Carmine for having moved the hair dryer.
The boys have all attended Catholic high school and Carmine, who just graduated, says he wants to attend either NYU or C.W. Post University on Long Island. Frank is starting a summer job at a glass shop in Valley Stream. John once worked at a rim shop and at a restaurant called Uncle Crumbs, but not this summer. This summer he's a TV star.
The five-acre home is vast and is known as "the hangout house" with the kids in town. There's a stable and corral, a swim-up bar in the pool, a huge playground, a gazebo located on a manmade lake, and a sports court (for tennis, basketball or baseball).
Five antique cars sit on the grass, including a model-T Rolls Royce and a beat-up blue Chrysler.
It's heaven for a teenager. In early episodes, Victoria discovers a keg in the guest house, and the boys get in trouble for staying out late.
"I'm excited [about the show]," says John, 17, wearing a FCUK shirt, jeans and Von Dutch trucker hat. "I have to get used to it, though. It's weird seeing us on a billboard when we drive on the highway."
"It's stressful," says Carmine, 18, but, he adds, "it's better than the Osbournes, because we're in it."
John says they had "no decision" about doing the show. They did it for their mom, who was approached by private eye Bill Stanton and publisher Judith Regan to do the project.
"What would happen if all of us said no? What would happen then?" asks John. "It wouldn't be real life. We live here. We come in and out of here. This is our house. We didn't have a choice."
There was a "days-on/days-off" policy, so the boys knew when the cameras were rolling -- whether they were giving each other wedgies or celebrating spring break in Miami. Victoria also had an "arrangement" with her sons to compensate them for their time.
They have another month of filming this summer.
Looking back at "growing up Gotti," John says visiting his grandfather (his namesake) is a favorite childhood memory. "He was fun."
And generous. "He took us to the toy store and he bought everything," says Frank, who's wearing a Sean John velour jumpsuit with Nike Air Force Ones.
"On Christmas at my grandma's, there would be a whole room with gifts to the ceiling," recalls John, "and on Christmas morning, they would open the door and let us in."
Have they ever used the Gotti name to get out of something?
"Don't you think that would make the situation worse?" says John. "There would be no reason to do that."
"Godfather" or "Goodfellas?"
Carmine: "They both s-ck. I like 'Scarface.'"
Marlon Brando or Robert De Niro?
Frank: "Who? Who's Marlon Brando?"
Carmine: "De Niro. Actually, I like Pacino."
John: "Brando. Why are you asking anyway?"
When was the last time you visited your dad, Carmine Agnello, who is serving nine years for racketeering and tax fraud in a federal prison?
"A month ago," says Carmine, who has a tattoo on his left arm that says "Fidelitos," below which appear to be the initials "J.G." and the dates of John Gotti's birth and death. But when asked about it, Carmine only explains that Fidelitos means loyalty.
"I just saw him yesterday," says John. "I usually get eight hours with him. [But] it's not really the right place you want to go visit your father, you know what I mean?"
With all their luxuries, Victoria isn't worried that her sons will become jaded from the newfound fame and attention.
"If they're going to sign on for this, they can't play prima donna," she says. "The most important (thing) is that they can't get affected by this. They can't walk away thinking they are, excuse the language, 'the s---.'"
MTV is already interested in the boys, and several modeling agencies have called. But the teens are not interested in acting or music.
What do you want to be, career-wise? the boys were asked.
"A billionaire," says Carmine.
How will you do that?
His mother has other plans for he and his brothers. "John is going into law," says Victoria. "Carmine is more creative; he loves to paint and draw. And the baby wants to be a chef. He loves to cook."
It's time for a photo shoot, and John disappears again for a costume change. Twenty minutes later, he emerges from the house wearing a Dolce & Gabbana white shirt with his tanned chest exposed, Diesel jeans and Nike Shox. His gold chains are dangling, along with his diamond Rolex.
Then he's gone again. On his final entrance, he's put in blue contacts, and his hair is sticking up like a tidal wave with Ice gel.
He's got it made.